Owls dispatch Rutgers, extend streak

Temple topped the Scarlet Knights Sunday, 5-2, to cap an undefeated weekend.

The women’s tennis team extended its winning streak to three after defeating Rutgers Sunday, 5-2. The team won four of its six singles matches and earned the doubles point by sweeping its three matches.

Freshmen Alina Abdurakhimova (6-3, 6-1) and Yana Khon (6-1, 6-3) dominated in straight sets to lead the Owls in singles play, while sophomore Mariana Bedon (6-2, 6-0) also won in straight sets. Sophomore Anais Nussaume (3-6, 6-2, 6-2) fought hard to earn her singles point in three sets.

Abdurakhimova has been playing some dominant tennis recently. In her last five singles matches, she has won each in straight sets. Abdurakhimova is proving that she belongs in her first semester of team matches.

“Alina is playing well considering she is a freshman,” Mauro said. “She plays well beyond her years and her biggest attributes are her consistency and how she plays a smart brand of tennis … she has adapted to the coaching style here well and that has helped in her success. She is a coachable athlete and by being coachable, it helps her abilities to perform.”

The Owls secured the doubles point with victories from Abdurakhimova and Khon (6-3), Nussaume and freshman Monet Stuckey-Willis 7-6 (4) and Bedon and junior Minami Okajima (6-3).

The doubles play, prior to Sunday’s match, had been lacking, which contributed to coach Steve Mauro having a talk with his team after Saturday’s 4-3 win against the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

“We discussed how we needed to be more active at the net and more solid with our returns,” Mauro said. “In the doubles matches [Sunday], we were more aggressive and we returned the ball well.”

To continue to succeed in team play, Mauro said the team would continue to practice all aspects of the game to continue playing consistent tennis.

“We are going to continue to work on all aspects of each girls’ game to give them the best opportunity to succeed on the court,” Mauro said.

The Owls (5-2) will return to action on Friday, Feb. 13 at 9 a.m. against Binghamton University.

Dalton Balthaser can be reached at dalton.balthaser@temple.edu or on Twitter @DaltonBalthaser.

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